Support for damage from April-June storms

By Robert Williams

Editor

On Friday, Aug. 26, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced the authorization of state disaster assistance for eight counties, including Becker, following damaging storms earlier this year.

“Minnesota’s emergency management team has been hard at work meeting with local teams to assess damage due to several severe weather events in recent months,” Walz said. “The State of Minnesota is committed to supporting the communities in these counties as they recover from severe weather events.”

The assistance is for areas that include Becker, Benton, Cottonwood, Freeborn, Lyon, McLeod, Murray and Rock counties regarding four separate weather events that produced heavy rains, flooding and severe thunderstorms occurring between April 22 and July 5.

According to the governor’s office, Becker County sustained damages due to flooding caused by spring snowmelt and heavy rains between April 22 and June 15. 

The most noteworthy storm of the spring happened on Friday, June 24 when an EF-2 tornado tore a 30-mile path from the Cotton Lake area to Menahga with maximum winds reaching as high as 115 miles per hour and the width of the tornado stretching to a maximum estimate of 600 yards.

The tornado was on the ground for 37 minutes during the late evening hours.

Earlier the same week, Monday, June 20 was another day of violent weather, as intense heat that led to record-breaking temperatures also teamed up with strong winds aloft to fuel a barrage of intense and damaging thunderstorms across western, northwestern, and northern Minnesota.

Between 7:30-11 p.m., there were many reports of trees snapped or uprooted affecting parts of Otter Tail, Wadena, Becker, Cass, Beltrami, Itasca, Crow Wing, Aitkin, St. Louis, Lake, and Cook counties. Some of the more intense damage reports included roofing ripped from multiple buildings in Becker County.

In an official letter to Joe Kelly, Director of Homeland Security & Emergency Management at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Walz directed Kelly to:

• Allocate such amounts as you find necessary for state disaster assistance from funds 

• Available for these purposes; 

• Provide public assistance in the designated area; and 

• Provide additional assistance if requested by a local government and warranted by the results of further damage assessments, to the extent allowable under the Disaster Assistance Contingency Fund, as described in Minnesota Statutes Chapter 12B.